UNESCO calls for protection of Libya’s cultural heritage sites

15 Jul 2016, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria

Summary

World Heritage Committee has placed the sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna, Libya. Photo: Libya Expeditions

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee has called for support from the international community for the protection of the five natural and cultural sites in Libya as the Committee places the sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The sites have been damaged by the conflict in Libya, which began with the Arab Spring in 2011, and there is the threat of further damage to the sites as the crisis persists.

The sites are the Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna – one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire; Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus – which has thousands of cave paintings, dating from 12,000 B.C. to A.D. 100; Old Town of Ghadamès – known as 'the pearl of the desert' and is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities; Archaeological Site of Sabratha – a Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland, and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D.; and Archaeological Site of Cyrene – a colony of the Greeks of Thera and one of the principal cities in the Hellenic world.

According to a statement on Thursday at its ongoing 40th Session, the World Heritage Committee said the high level of instability in Libya poses a serious threat of further damage to these sites.

Part of UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to encourage international cooperation in the preservation and conservation of the world's cultural and natural heritage. There are 54 properties across different countries which the World Heritage Committee has included on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The World Heritage says "Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration."

There are 1031 properties on the World Heritage List, which include two from Nigeria – the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State and the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove on the outskirts of Osogbo, the capital of Osun State. Some of the world's unique heritage sites include East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America.


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